Perhaps there are no truly new forms of music in this current reality, but there are an incredible number of cross breeds. These cross breeds are creating entire new genres and a fresh injection into the world of music. The music genre of Steampunk is a genre which has arisen out of the Steampunk movement, described by Wikipedia as:
“Specifically, steampunk involves an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century and often Victorian era Britain—that incorporates prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Works of Steampunk often feature anachronistic technology or futuristic innovations as Victorians may have envisioned them; in other words, based on a Victorian perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, art, etc.”
Steampunk music, like many new styles that are emerging, is difficult to sum up. I find that a large portion of it is a composite of circus music, pirate shanties, gothic harmonies, with often a gypsy kind of flair. This is over simplifying a complex genus, as Steampunk music can include a wide variety of variations taken from many divisions of music.
Steampunk bands revel in dressing very Steampunk, using instruments that have been modified to fit the theme, and using lyrics that exemplify an era we currently only dream of. This is an example of a DIY Steampunk guitar:
My only problem with some of the modified instruments used in Steampunk is that they tend to unnaturally warp the sound in ways that can cause severe distortion. The very popular Steampunk band Abney Park is a good example of this. I do not know if they have done any music in a professional studio, but you can clearly hear the unusual distortions in the music that is available. I have no problem with distortion, but this often comes out as a dirty distortion, making it difficult to hear the music clearly. I like Abney Park, but I wish that their instruments had a clearer sound.
If you want to explore this wonderful new style of music, go to Last.fm, and type in Steampunk, you will get a wide variety of examples for your listening exploration. Until then, here is Abney Park…
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